What is a Business Plan and What is In It?

So what is a business plan? A business plan is the single most important document you’ll ever create for your business. It will describe every aspect of your business, including the products and services you plan to deliver, how you plan to finance it, what marketing strategies you plan to use and how it will operate.

A business plan is a written document of all your reflections, planning and market research. It should show clearly where you currently are, where you plan to go and how you plan to get there. It is a blueprint for business success.

Background information

  • Something about you and why you can run a business
  • Your business goals
  • The vision for the business
  • A mission statement
  • Operating information
  • What you plan to sell
  • How you plan to create and deliver your product and service.
  • Operating costs
  • Staffing requirements
  • Financial information
  • How the business will be funded
  • Working capital requirements
  • A budget
  • Cashflow projection
  • Marketing information
  • Who your customer is
  • Where they are
  • How you will reach them
  • How much you will charge

All of the above need to be fully researched and professionally presented. It should be clearly and concisely written and placed in a folder or portfolio and if applicable accompanied by drawings, photos, etc.

Finally, a business plan should be a called to action, not just an exercise you complete to satisfy your banker or financier and then consign it to the filing cabinet to be forgotten. It is a living document to be referred to and updated, regularly. It will change over time as your business changes and grows.

What a Business Plan is Not

A business plan is not a guarantee of success. No matter how well you plan, the reality is, there is always a risk of small business failure. This is doubly true if, after creating a good plan, you don’t follow it.

A business plan is not something you can put together in five minutes. A good plan takes a lot of time and careful deliberation. But that sort of planning will pay off in the long term.

A business plan is not a one size fits all model. If you try to apply one from a different company to another, you will fail. Each company is unique.Yours will be unique and will need a plan to cater to that uniqueness.

A business plan is not something you can get someone else to do. It is a reflection of your vision and aspirations, not someone else’s, and it must capture that. You can engage outside help and advice to assist with the process, but in the end, it has to be your plan. No one will have the same passion and commitment for your business as you.

A business plan does not have to be an entire book. It does need detail, but that can be done with a few bullet points for each factor.

Briefly, what is a business plan? It is a document outlining every aspect of your proposed small business; what it will sell and how, how it will be financed and how it will operate along with some background information on you.

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